Learning how to manage your time is extremely important, especially when you have a busy schedule. As dancers, we spend a huge portion of our week in dance classes, followed by school work and extra social activities. It’s important to ensure that your schedule is balanced & organised overall so you can succeed in your school, work, dancing, other sporting activities, family time & social life.
So you can enjoy every day and make the most of every waking moment, I want to share a few tips to help you stay on top of all areas of your schedule.
My number one (and most valuable) tip: Organisation
Get a diary and calendar and use them regularly. Whether you prefer putting pen to paper, or you like keeping it all digital, the most important thing is that you use it religiously! Note everything, so nothing slips your mind, and you can focus your attention on the most urgent items.
Having all your commitments written down will help you see all the tasks that need your attention and allow you to decide what you need to prioritise. You could also jot down your long-term goals, so you are reminded of them daily! Knowing what you are working towards will help you ensure you are devoting your time to things that are beneficial to your goals.
I would suggest using your calendar to write down all your long term responsibilities & commitments, for example: exams, competitions, important events and assignment due dates.
Then write your daily to-do’s and tasks in your diary, to avoid overcrowding your calendar. This is where you can write down things you need to remember like homework, sewing pointe shoes or doing your key exercises.
That way, you won’t forget to do everyday tasks, minimising stress and allowing you to focus on important events and bigger goals. I often colour code each task depending on what it may be; key exercises will be pink, appointments will be red, classes will be in blue & personal activities will be in purple. This allows you to view your diary quickly & know what type of day you have ahead of you.
Next, prioritise your tasks.
As dancers, we tend to want to spend every spare minute practicing or watching ballet. However, you must tend to urgent tasks before you do anything else. For example, if you haven’t stretched yet, but you have an homework assignment due, get your schoolwork out of the way first. Once it is done, you’ll be surprised how much time you’ll still have remaining to focus on your dancing, while feeling destressed and accomplished.
I strongly recommend you always plan ahead & keep your spaces tidy:
A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind! If your bedroom, dance bag and locker are messy, you will waste precious time and energy searching for lost items or digging around for things you can’t remember where you left them. Keeping things tidy is absolutely essential to managing your time efficiently!
Try getting prepared the night before. Pack your dance bag in the evening, lay out your uniform and make a list of the items you may need for a competition on the weekend! After a while, this will become a habit you’ll no longer need to think about, leaving you with more time to focus on other things!
Unlike what you may assume, multi-tasking is hardly ever an efficient way to accomplish anything. Try focussing your attention on one thing at a time. Find quiet places to do your work, practice dance steps or complete your key exercises, minimising distractions such as people chatting or electronic devices, as these will only add to your lack of time!
You could try setting a timer to make yourself focus on a task for a set amount of time. That way, even if you would prefer to watch another episode on TV, you will have to hold yourself accountable to the hour you set aside to review your exam combinations or do your Key Exercises.
Along those lines, I want to encourage you to make every moment count
Make a conscious decision to find the time to practice, do your homework, sew your pointe shoes or have a conversation with friends or family.
Check your schedule for “opportunities”. Use breaks in between rehearsals, or moments in the car to review choreography, catch up on homework or even just sit and meditate! This will help you make a smart use of your time and all the small moments in between your big commitments of the day.
Finally, don’t forget to schedule downtime!
Taking the time to relax and recover and most importantly, sleep, is crucial for success! As dancers, we are quite literally constantly on our toes, so don’t feel guilty for taking time to recharge your batteries. Setting aside time in your schedule to just be is absolutely necessary to remain healthy, happy and keep performing at your best!
Dancers, managing your time well has so many benefits and I hope that you’ll find some of these tips useful!